Qualcomm announces the next batch of upcoming mobile chips Smartphones, tablets and augmented reality. The company has unveiled the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which is an upgrade to the current processor used in the latest versions of Android. Qualcomm has also taken the lid off its latest mid-range processor, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. And since it can’t be left out of the conversation about augmented reality technologies, Qualcomm also introduced the first piece of reference hardware running on its Snapdragon XR2 platform. It is a wireless pair of augmented reality glasses.
Qualcomm’s first silicon update starts with a flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It has a maximum clock speed of 3.2GHz and can handle speeds of up to 10Gbps and — if you’re lucky enough to get to which — that. It is also compatible with Wi-Fi 6 / 6E routers, speeds up to 3.6 Gbps.
Qualcomm specifically emphasizes the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 gaming capabilities, adding that the new chip offers “the full suite of Snapdragon Elite Gaming features.” It promises 10% faster speeds and 30% less power, so you don’t have to worry about throttling and battery life while gaming on the go. Qualcomm says the new platform adds up to an additional 60 minutes of gameplay.
something tNote: Qualcomm focuses on the capabilities of the AI engine. The company says the new 8+ Gen 1 delivers up to 20% better performance for things like AI camera capabilities. In particular, 8+ Gen 1 can help facilitate simultaneous bokeh effects and face tracking. It also offers 8K HDR video capture capabilities.
Qualcomm says Android smartphones will feature its latest premium chipset, including versions from Motorola, OnePlus and ASUS, which produce the ROG range of gaming-focused smartphones. Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is the successor to the processor within current Android versions, including Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraAnd Motorola Edge +And OnePlus 10 Pro. On the outside, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powers Xiaomi 12 Pro.
In the mid-range section is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. Its spec sheet indicates it’ll offer sincere competition to the latest batch of devices in this particular category.
The 7 Gen 1 is the first of Qualcomm’s mid-range series to convert to the new naming convention, which means it’s the first generation of this new silicon series. Like the flagship 8 Gen 1, the 7 Gen 1 is enhanced by so-called Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, including the Adreno Frame Motion Engine based on its Adreno GPU. This engine helps double up the framerate so that gaming content can upscale without compromising the device’s power efficiency. Qualcomm promises up to 20% faster graphics rendering and better compatibility with Quad HD+ displays.
The new processor will aid in camera performance, too. You’ll be able to shoot simultaneously between three cameras or take photos up to 200-MP, a first for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 series. The chip will also enable 4K HDR recording, which will be a nice boon for mid-range devices that employ this chip series.
Additionally, Qualcomm touts the Snapdragon 7 series 1’s abilities for face detection while wearing a mask. In particular, the 7 Gen 1 will have 30% improved AI performance. As for wireless connectivity, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 will have Qualcomm’s X62 5G modem, which supports both mmWave and sub-6 networks.
Qualcomm told us that the pricepoint of devices that would feature the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 will likely be in the $400-$600 range.
Wireless AR Smart Viewer
Since Qualcomm’s business is mainly centered around powering up mobile platforms, it sees the future of augmented reality as being equally untethered. The company used this maelstrom of smartphone silicon news to debut its Wireless AR Smart Viewer, a reference device for developers to build “lag-free” AR experiences on Qualcomm’s FastConnect XR Software Suite.
The reference design explicitly boasts a “40% thinner profile and more balanced weight distribution” compared to Qualcomm’s last generation XR1-powered platform. Goertek, a Chinese OEM, developed the hardware. It features a dual micro-OLED binocular display with a 1920 x 1080 per-eye resolution, each offering framerates of up to 90Hz. There are also dual monochrome cameras and one RGB camera on the Smart Viewer, enabling six degrees of freedom head- and hand-tracking.
The more significant selling point of this particular headset is that it shows the wireless prowess of Qualcomm’s AR platform. The company claims its FastConnect 6900 solution offers “uncompromising” Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth connectivity so that you don’t have to tether the device while you’re in augmented reality. Qualcomm stays the Smart Viewer will have less than 3ms latency between the headset and the connected smartphone.
Processor updates are par for the course for Qualcomm, and the company has done this sort of mid-year refresh for its flagship silicon before. But the elephant hanging out in the room with these latest announcements is Google, Samsung, and Apple’s respective chips.
Although Apple doesn’t partner with Qualcomm for the iPhone, its pivot toward producing its processors kicked off a movement that slowly reverberated to other notable brands with the infrastructure that could support homemade chips. Google and Samsung come to mind, as the former has teamed up with the latter for the Tensor chip in its Pixel smartphones because the latter already makes Exynos chipsets for its devices. Google has been using its chips since the Pixel 6 and recently announced that it will stick with them in the mid-range series. And while Samsung hasn’t moved its flagship devices away from Qualcomm hardware yet, the company has opted for an Exynos 1280 processor in the mid-range. Galaxy A53 smart phone.
Qualcomm still has a lot of partnerships across the global smartphone industry. And while its latest processors offer a glimpse into how it is going forward to maintain parity with the competition, it will be interesting to see how it maintains dominance That’s where Google and Samsung drift into doing their own thing.